A North Carolina executive pastor angered her congregation this week by sending an email suggesting that “only white people” should work as greeters for their Sunday worship. As reported by The Christian Post, Makeda Pennycooke, the executive pastor of Freedom House Church in Charlotte that sent the offending email, wrote that because the church anticipated an increase in visitors over the next few weeks, the church leadership was “continuing to work to bring their racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line,” so the church was requesting only white people work as greeters. Pennycooke added that “first impressions matter” and they wanted “the best of the best” at the entry doors.
In a statement to CP last Tuesday, however, Freedom House noted of Pennycooke: “One of our longtime pastors, in keeping with our church’s desire to be inclusive and intentionally reach out to all races, noticed our front door greeting team was no longer reflecting the racial diversity of our entire congregation, and she wanted potential visitors to see people like themselves upon entering our church. However, she made an error in judgment in requesting all white greeters at the front door, going overboard in placing emphasis on any one race over another in trying to highlight diversity within the greeting team.”
The lead pastor, Troy Maxwell, took the podium with apologies this past Sunday, saying his leadership team was “taking full responsibility for this.”
“Today, I just want to stand before you as your pastor as the father of this house and tell you that I’m sorry. I’m deeply sorry for what you had to go through,” Maxwell told the congregation. “I would never in a million years want you to ever have to go through something like that. … For the mistake we made, I’m asking you, I’m repenting to you today and asking for your forgiveness.”